Ask the Nutritionist
Q: I’m in need of gaining weight. I’m smaller than my peers and I despise it. Could you please give me tips on how to boost my weight and self confidence?
A: Weight gain is a concern for many people. It can especially be hard when everyone around you looks to be of “normal” weight. Your self-esteem can certainly suffer. Attaining an optimal weight is important, both physically and mentally.
Gaining weight should be done slowly over time by practicing certain eating behaviors and eating a healthful diet. Eating behaviors to help you gain weight include:
- Eat frequently throughout the day.
- When you have a good appetite, try to eat more often.
- Keep healthy, high calorie foods at home.
- Take healthy, high calorie snacks with you when you leave the house.
- Drink fluids between meals, not with them, to keep from filling up on the fluid.
When it comes to diet, eating foods that are high-calorie and fit into a healthful, balanced diet is best. Filling up on foods that are high-calorie and heavily processed like ice cream or potato chips can cause us to eat too much saturated fat and added sugar and too little of the good stuff like healthful fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
For specific high calorie food ideas, see Gaining Weight Without Sugar. For healthy recipe ideas to boost your weight, visit our recipes in the Health Library.
Now, let’s talk about your mental health. If you feel your self-confidence is lacking due to your weight, it may be helpful to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Contact your doctor to discuss this.
Another idea would be to try exercising and/or relaxation techniques like Qigong. Not only can you gain weight by building muscle mass and making sure to replenish the calories you burned but exercise has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety. Additionally, creating goals around exercise can help you build self confidence as you achieve them.